Wintering in Florida

Azaleas blooming in January

Azaleas blooming in January

I am still in a bit of shock that we are really spending the whole winter down here.  I used to think that was only for well-to-do snowbirds from way up north — never me!

There was a group of 4 peacocks today, but I couldn't catch them close enough together to get them all in one picture.

There was a group of 4 peacocks today, but I couldn’t catch them close enough together to get them all in one picture.

The affordableness of it is what staggers me!   Just by making it a top priority, the finances just kind of fall into place.

We had both dogs groomed yesterday — a full grooming for Sunny, and a mini groom for Sheba.  Sunny looked so bad, I was ashamed for anyone to see him.  I kept putting the grooming off for him due to his anxiety attacks.  But finally there was no putting it off any more.

Another leaning tree (besides the one I photographed yesterday).

Another leaning tree (besides the one I photographed yesterday).

Also I wanted to get Sheba a sanitary trim so she would be easier to keep clean (and smell better).

While we were in Ocoee doing laundry yesterday, we noticed a dog groomer in the same shopping center.  I asked if they accepted walk-ins and they did.  So I got Sunny and Sheba off the truck and left them at the groomer.

Sunny was already having an anxiety attack from the truck ride.  I give him a Benedryl when he is really out of control and it does calm him down — a little.  But it didn’t do much for him yesterday.

Base of the leaning tree.  Looks like it's not going to be able to support itself too much longer.

Base of the leaning tree. Looks like it’s not going to be able to support itself too much longer.

Sunny apparently was yipping, pacing and shaking during the entire grooming… and got so upset that he wet on the table.  The groomer said he really went ballistic when she tried to trim his face.  This is so unlike the little dog who used to stand statue still for grooming.  Everyone always told me what a good boy he was.  But he even does that now when I try to brush his ears or tail or wash his face.  And he gets aggressive if I keep trying.

Resurrection ferns on the leaning tree.

Resurrection ferns on the leaning tree.

So I think that might have been his last grooming.  I will try to keep his hair from getting too bad myself.

Sheba, on the other hand had ticks that I had missed in her thick fur.  So the groomer hand picked them off and gave her a dip.  She also got a haircut and it is amazing how much neater and cleaner she looks (and smells).

So the bill for having my two difficult dogs groomed was $115 plus tip! But it was worth every penny to us.

Sunny's haircut

Sunny’s haircut

There is another couple in a Casita here.  They parked next to us for a couple of days, but had to move today as another person had a reservation for the site they were in.  So they moved across the loop from us.

Ron has spoken to the man, but I haven’t had a chance to speak to his wife except for a few words.  They are constantly going and doing.  They did ask Ron if he would close their windows (from the outside) if it rained today.  But we lucked out with no rain.

Sheba

Sheba

We are an odd sort of snowbird, I guess.  We aren’t much for going and sightseeing.  Instead we love to choose beautiful places to camp, then spend our time there observing the marvelous details of nature around us.

What matters is that Ron and I are content and are loving our lives as they happen day by day.

Sheba showing off her haircut

Sheba showing off her haircut

 

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What a Perfect Day!

Camping at Mom's

Camping at Mom’s

Hope took this picture of a black capped chickadee today

Hope took this picture of a black capped chickadee today

All of the tension, stress and depression of the last three months I was stuck at home are gone!  We spent all day today out in warm sunshine and fresh air.  It’s the best medicine on earth!  We feel relaxed, stress-free, happy and are thrilled that the day turned out so perfect!

We slept with all the windows open last night.  Then this morning started out chilly, but warmed up beautifully.  The thermometer on Mom’s back porch read 82 degrees this afternoon when I went in to get hot dogs and hamburgers ready for the grill.

It was lovely popping into Mom’s and Hope’s houses for visits on and off all day.  Hope showed me several inventive things she’s devised to attract birds for her to photograph.

Most of the spring flowers are gone now, but a few azaleas are left.

Most of the spring flowers are gone now, but a few azaleas are left.

Then Ann and Cecil came down this afternoon.  We spent time visiting outside under the big old live oak tree, then ate dinner and visited inside until we were all too sleepy to be very good company.  Just a perfect family get-together.

Sheba and Sunny had a blast being able to run free all day.  Sheba stayed out of the neighbor’s horse pasture this time.  And she quickly learned the boundaries she couldn’t stray beyond.

Fern fiddlehead -- from a Boston fern in Hope's garden.

Fern fiddlehead — from a Boston fern in Hope’s garden.

However, she HATES to come in the trailer at night.  We were able to get her in the last two nights, but simply can’t catch her to bring her in this evening.  She runs when we call her and she is so fast she evades any efforts we make.  She does stay right on the porch mat when we come inside because she is afraid of the dark.  So we have turned the porch light out, hoping against hope that she would rather come into the trailer with us than stay out in the dark alone.

We do so well with her at home.  But camping always seems to present a crisis in dealing with her.

The afternoon light patterns in Mom's yard are magical.  :)

The afternoon light patterns in Mom’s yard are magical. 🙂

P.S.  Ron was finally able to wrestle her inside.

The last remaining pear blooms

The last remaining pear blooms

Sunlight shining through hand soap dispenser this morning.  Another magic moment!

Sunlight shining through hand soap dispenser this morning. Another magic moment!

Unknown... but it's one of the last remaining clumps of blooms on this tree, too.

Unknown… but it’s one of the last remaining clumps of blooms on this tree, too.

Doggie bonding

Doggie bonding

Wood sorrel

Wood sorrel

Pretty little purple wildflowers behind wood sorrel

Pretty little purple wildflowers behind wood sorrel

Scenes from a Spring Paradise in Florida

Hope's front door

Hope’s front door

After hearing me moan and groan about our cold, wet, dreary weather, my sister Hope sent me a visual spring tonic.  It is hard to express how powerfully seeing these photos taken in her yard impacted me.  There is hope!  There is beauty!  There is glorious life just one state south of here… and it’s headed my way.  Really!  It is!  🙂

Bee on azalea

Bee on azalea

These photos are a treasured gift.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Bee on Japanese plum flower

Bee on Japanese plum flower

Sulfur butterfly and orange

Sulfur butterfly and orange

Another shot

Another shot

Here he (she?) poses on an azalea flower

Here he (she?) poses on an azalea flower

Mama cardinal.  Hope said she raised a little brood of one in a nest in the azalea bush.

Mama cardinal. Hope said she raised a little brood of one in a nest in the azalea bush.

Here's papa cardinal.

Here’s papa cardinal.

Another little visitor

Another little visitor

This is the baby cardinal that the mama raised in the azalea bush!

I think this is my all time favorite.  She sent this one to me a while back.

I think this is my all time favorite. She sent this one to me a while back.

There are 5 birds in this picture.  Can you spot them all?

There are 5 birds in this picture. Can you spot them all?

This one was taken a couple of months ago, while it was still winter.

This one was taken a couple of months ago, while it was still winter.

Horse hair on fence.  Her rainy days sure are prettier than mine!  :)

Horse hair on fence. Her rainy days sure are prettier than mine! 🙂

Pear blossom

Pear blossom